MysticumMysticum are a band who made their name off the back of one album, an album which took industrial soundscapes and infused cosmic black metal into it, a cubic fuckton of evil and an overdose of class A drug abuse, birthing previously unfathomable extremes into a world which was never the same again. That album was of course ‘In the Streams of Inferno’, an album which still stands up to this day as one which pushed boundaries further than 99% of the stuff coming out of mid-nineties Scandinavia, and left a crater-like impact on the scene as a whole.

There has long been rumour of a follow up album known as ‘Planet Satan’, a release whispered about in revered tones over the years, and thought by many never to be released after so many years passing since the debut. Come 2014, album number two finally sees the light of day, and having chance to get my ears around it I can truly say it does not disappoint. Whilst perhaps not having the same crushing impact as their debut (a lot of bands have studied their blueprint since then, trying to master the sickness – with Aborym perhaps coming closest to perfecting it), it still has the machine gun attack of programmed drums, scything guitars and manic vocals which we know and love.

Planet Satan sees them hit the floor running with L.S.D.  firing on all cylinders with programmed drums rattling your teeth loose from your gums, the guitars tremolo picking at icy shards and the synth stuttering and buzzing around your speakers to once again re-create the winning formula they last left us with on their debut. There are no surprises here, with ‘The Ether’ re-introducing us to their strong industrial influences, buzzing, cold landscapes, machine-like rhythms boring deep into your weak human flesh, before ripping it apart with their obliterating black metal blasts. ‘Fist of Satan’ sees the Norwegians slide the drum machine to 11, glitching and blasting to near gabba-like speeds (let us not forget that these are the same guys who parted way with Mayhem’s Hellhammer for being too ‘human’). The unforgivable mechanical quality to their overall sound is what makes the band for me, but when coupled with the truly inexorable riffage, dark, bubbling synth and spacy atmospheres, it makes each listen a magnificent experience.

‘All Must End’ seems to be the soundtrack for Armageddon, sounding truly evil as it rattles it’s inevitable death knells home, with ‘Cosmic Gun’ being as just as otherworldly and alien as it sounds, pushing their extremity to breaking point once more, before imploding into an even more evil beast. Finishing up with ‘Dissolve into Impiety’, the album ends with a desolate droning beast, a chilling finale – as if the planet is destroyed, all joy, happiness and good qualities sucked into a vacuum and disposed of, leaving chaos and evil to reign.

As albums which have taken the best part of 20 years in the making go – this is a resounding success. It’s great to welcome these guys back, and have them blasting with just as much vigour and insanity that they left us with all those long years ago. All is well with ‘Planet Satan’, let’s just not make it so long for album 3 yeah guys?

(8.5/10 Lars Christiansen)